Monday, December 15, 2014

Ernest Hemingway once said, "Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."
It's been exactly one month since I left for an amazing journey, this time, for the first time, with someone. Mr. Hemingway turned out to be right. I hope whoever I traveled with has read this particular quote too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Peanut Butter

One of the most popular quotes about unrequited love is that of Charlie Brown" Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love." Being a huge fan of peanut butter myself, I can relate to this. During the past days, peanut butter tastes like paper. Well, everything tastes like paper.

I have been holding on to this silly kind of hope for the last few months, that maybe, just maybe, this is it. That perhaps, for the first time in my life, peanut butter would taste like peanut butter, in all its creamy, luscious, sinful, delightful goodness. But no, sorry Jean, you got yourself into a big disappointment again.

For the nth time in your life, get over it. You've been through this so many times before, you could walk out of this hell even with your eyes closed. Eat your bread without peanut butter. Stand up, walk on, and get over it!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This is already insane. This loneliness is getting unbearable. Why must we get lonelier when we get older? Why make a big deal about one more day, or even one more hour of being alone when you've been alone all your life?

There's got to be something better than merely getting by. There has to be something greater than this miserable and monotonous existence. The's got to be a cure for broken hearts and hapless victims of one-sided romances. There has to be a way out for me. Somewhere. Somehow. Soon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Hunchback of Boracay

I’ve been staring at this blank computer screen for some time now. I’m down to my last few days of vacation and it is imperative that I should at least get some decent writing done. Witty Facebook status updates with poorly-taken phone-camera photos are far from being acceptable. I have to squeeze something out of my lethargic brain, at least. Or else, this hiatus from work will be no more than a figment of memory from sweeter, slower, work-free days.

I’ve been spending my time reading books. The first is Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, which, as my good friend M said, is a must-read – something that a romantic, onion-skinned, trying-hard-to-be-an-intellectual-but-only-succeeds-in-being-a-lunatic like me must read before they die. Well, I finished the book two days ago. Does that mean that I’m ready to die?

My friend M and I discussed mortality once. I remember this quite vividly and very fondly because M rarely opens up about anything personal and this conversation is just about as personal as we could get. In fact, this is the only time he ever agreed to discuss death, which is quite surprising because M and I hang out as often as possible and melancholy Jean here loves to talk about it. It was one of those impromptu dinners when we talked about how we’ve always felt about dying young. A decade ago, my friend has always felt he’d die at 38. He’s now 40, and very much alive, literally and metaphorically. I have always thought I’d die by 40 too. But then of course, I’m still several years away from that. Nevertheless, because of our conviction that we’d die young, we both developed this crazy obsession for life. We strive everyday to learn, to love, to be grateful, to appreciate every single breath. This is probably the reason why we had an instant bond, a certain chemistry that is rather rare for strangers who meet in mid-life. To make a long story short, M and I concluded that even if we live a little bit on the edge daily, always anticipating our mortality, always ready to leave the world as unexpectedly as when we arrived, this is how we’re all supposed to live – to appreciate every single breath, to enjoy life as a gift and not as a right, to learn and love as much as we can, and to be thankful for everyday and live it as if it’s your last.

Anyway, back to Victor Hugo. Sorry for digressing. I got carried away. It’s one of the most tragic novels I’ve read. Everyone seems to be nurturing unrequited affections for somebody else. Although it was beautifully written, I could not help but feel like I’ve wasted my time. I loved the book, don’t get me wrong. Mr. Hugo weaves every word into a masterpiece. I, however, am very much acquainted with unrequited love already. Too much that a mere mention of it is enough to make me retch. I didn’t retch when I read the book, of course. I was merely exaggerating.  I felt so much for Quasimodo. Because whether I admit it or not, I am a Quasimodo too. I've always felt as deformed, as alienated, as unloved. Perhaps being unloved induces a vicious cycle of being unloved more. I may not have that hunchback or that horrible blind eye, or those grossly malformed limbs, but I am a Quasimodo too, in more ways than one can ever imagine. It's the deformity of the spirit that's harder to cure.

And my Esmeralda? I guess I talked about him a few paragraphs ago. I’m on vacation, but my thoughts drift back to him. I was supposed to run away, to keep my distance, but here I am writing about him. The only difference this entry has from my last several blog posts is the fact that I’m writing this in Boracay, far from the maddening stress of work, far from that lovely place we both call home.

Borrowing the last line from the novel, “When they tried to pull his skeleton away from the one he held in his arms it crumbled into dust.” I must crumble into dust soon enough.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Writer's Block

So this is what they call writer's block. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to write. Or too happy, perhaps. My diagnosis is writer's block secondary to too much happiness secondary to spending time with you. Aargh. This blog is getting cheesy. And I hate it. But nobody reads this anymore anyway, so I might as well ventilate. I could not tell you anything. No, not yet. Maybe one day, I will. But for now I will write. Write for no one at all. Write for myself. Write for the you I created in my head. Write for the you who might come across this one day and realize that that girl you traveled with, drank beer with, danced like mad with, was in fact dreaming to travel with you forever.

Last Saturday night, you brought me to that place you've talked about many times before. You've mentioned several times that you wanted to take me there. This weekend, you did. It was a resort on top of a hill, with a breathtaking view of the city. The evening was cool, and they stars were bright. The city lights were dazzling. I didn't even notice them that much. I was with you, and we were talking about dreams and aiming for the stars and landing on the moon, or the other way around. It was a little past midnight when I said I wanted to dance. So we went back to the city and got into this sleazy bar filled with drunk kids half our age dancing to trance music. And we danced with them.

On Sunday morning, I asked you to go diving with me. You were tired and very busy. I was surprised and very grateful that you said yes. You even brought your lovely little niece along. For awhile, we stayed by the ocean reading the paper, looking wistfully at the water, saying nothing most of the time. There is always something about you that recharges me. It's the beauty and strength of your spirit, I guess. You have a countenance that radiates peace, and it's contagious. You probably think the same of me. Or else, why would you be wasting time with me?

I wish we could talk about these things. You are shy. I am scared. You are scared. I am shy. So we just kept quiet. Let's just enjoy these moments and let our actions do the talking.

It took me one more day to write about the weekend. So that's what they call writer's block. Or maybe I was just too lazy to write. Or too happy. Yes, I was too happy.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Reoxygenation

Reoxygenation. That's your word. In medical parlance, it's called "detoxification" - it's what we do to relieve ourselves of life's toxicities and stresses. For example, medical students party hard to detoxify after a major exam. But as I grew older, detoxification has evolved into something entirely different from parties. For me, it's staying by the beach, or drinking beer on a quiet evening with soothing music playing, or getting lost in some mountain trail by a river. And most recently, detoxification, or reoxygenation as you would like to call it, means spending time with you.

We both have been extremely busy these days. And though I would have really wanted to spend time with you, our workloads have been very prohibitive. I didn't call you at all, because I didn't want to be a bother, but I have been fervently praying for Fate to intervene. In a small city of half a million people, perhaps it wasn't too much to ask for our paths to randomly cross. This morning, Fate was kind.

Today, we met. It must have been random, or maybe not. You knew I have breakfast in that diner every Sunday morning. And that has always been our favorite breakfast place. You must have known all along that I would be there. Perhaps you were wishing I would be there. Maybe, maybe not. But I must admit I was hoping you'd have breakfast in the same place too. Praying, in fact. I almost lost all hope of seeing you and was about to leave when you came.

I was checking the news on-line and when I looked up, you were outside. You smiled that big shy smile of yours when you saw me. You have so much work to do, you said. We talked about so many things, planned future journeys and business ventures, talked about national issues and politics, laughed a lot about life and the jokes it plays on us. You have always been the smartest person I know. People tell me I'm a smart one. They should meet you, I say.

After you had your breakfast you said you would have to get some reports done. I told you I would leave you so you can work. You asked me to stay. Just stay. You can read while I work, you said. And so we just sat there for some time, with you working on your computer and me reading my book. No words said. Just a strange, restful, soothing quiet. At 9am, I said that I had to start seeing my patients. And you said that you have a meeting to attend to. And we parted ways. Just like that.

I walked out of the diner feeling refreshed. That quiet time with you was a draft of fresh air. I hope I gave you a fresh supply of oxygen too. It will be another busy week ahead. This time, I am no longer worried about it. You had me refreshed and recharged. Reoxygenated, you would say. I am now looking forward to a challenging week. I hope, no, I know, that you are too.




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Apprehension

I saw you pass by the hospital today. I happened to be in my car, at the parking lot, wondering how I should spend the free evening. I was trying to stop myself from texting you. Geesh, I missed you terribly! Just when I was already convinced to send you a message, your car passed by. And I set my phone aside and decided against texting you.

Something tells me that if you're not busy, you'll be with me. That even if you're busy, you'll find time to be with me. After so many years of unrequited affections for so many men,  something tells me that this thing I have with you is different. I know that somehow you like me back. I only need to text you and you'll come to me. But what if I'm wrong? What if this time, at the height of my hopes, you would reject me and break my heart?

I could not risk it. I will wait for you to make your move. Or better yet, I have to heal myself from this obsession of you.

What if you feel the same apprehension I'm feeling? What if you're only waiting for me? Nah. Wake up and get real, Jean. There's no such thing. There's no such thing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

You Again

Oh no. I'm sorry. I tried to avoid this. This blog is supposed to talk about anything substantial (ie something people can learn from, laugh at, or ponder on), but this is the second consecutive post about you. I don't think anybody is reading this blog anymore, anyway. My last entry, which was entirely about you, only garnered 11 reads as of now. So I figured it's probably safe to just blabber on. I need some form of catharsis for my thoughts. And since you're my secret crush, there really is nobody I can talk to about you. So I might as well put my thoughts in writing, lest I would someday forget about it.

Honestly, I feel weird writing about crushes. Geeez, I'm old, old enough to be labeled a spinster, actually. I wonder why I still get these silly "kilig" feelings whenever you're around. Can anybody give the exact English translation of that word? I don't think anybody can. But I know how that feels. Thanks to you.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is this. I miss you. Terribly. You're out there somewhere far away right now, and it would be several days before you'll be back home. Knowing you're away makes me lonely. Well, we really don't see each other all the time, even if you're home. But the fact that you're around, just a few kilometers away from where I work, energizes me somehow. I always look forward to this little possibility of bumping into you in the most unlikely places, in restaurants, in malls, in streets, wherever. Fate has given us several chances of bumping into each other, actually. I said "it's a small world". You said "it's serendipity".

Since you left the city, I've been in a daze. I walk around mindlessly, not looking at people's faces, not staring at license plates of lithium-colored trucks. I've been having breakfast and coffee at the usual places, but I didn't really care about the next person who walks through the door. The certainty that I will never bump into you drains me of my usual enthusiasm for the city. Since you left, I feel my age more. I'm an old lady who feels old.

Do you ever think of me from where you are now? Are you also staring at the scenery mindlessly because you know you will never find me there? Do you also look forward to coming home because you miss our conversations and our laughter and this tiny weeny possibility that you'd bump into me in the most unlikely places?

I hope you do.

I look forward to having you home. Please come see me as soon as you can.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Open Letter to A Secret Crush. From a Girl Who's No Longer Young.

I have a confession to make. I like you. I really do. I wish you'll never find out. But I'm writing this anyway. I don't think you read my blog so I think my secret is safe here. Or maybe I wish you will find out somehow, without me having to tell you in person. It scares me that you'll find out, and yet I would really really like you to know how I feel. So here goes. I'm shrouding you in a veil of anonymity, translucent though it is. I'm not making sense here. But my point is, I like you. I really do.

I know I'm no longer young. And you're far from young either. As a wise and grown-up lady, I should just have told you how I feel, straight, without metaphors or jargon. There's nothing to be scared of, really. I'm sure you've been through this before, with other women. And I've felt this way before too, for other men. But for some strange unexplainable reason, I still could not muster enough courage to tell you in person.

Call me a coward, or a sissie, or childish and immature. Call me a prude, call me frigid. But when you're with me I just become quiet. I am speechless for things that matter, but verbose on the less important things. Things such as politics and waterfalls and India, things of no consequence at all that I tend to forget about them in a moment.  Why do we keep talking about these little things and so painstakingly steer away from talk of feelings and dreams and family and past relationships? It's unnatural. It's tiresome. It's making us drift apart just as soon as we as we get an inch too close for comfort.

But still the same, I like you. There's a mystery about you that I could not explain. Your ideas fascinate me. Your kindness and your vision impress me. I enjoy the way you make me laugh, love the way you make me think. I very rarely meet a man who knows the books I read, sings the songs I sing, and dreams of the adventures I long to do. But maybe they're all in my head. maybe you're just being you. Perhaps the reason why I like you is because I don't know you enough. Or I don't know you at all (though I would like to believe that that is not true, maybe I do know you a bit). Whether you are real or imagined, I do know that I really enjoy every moment I have with you. I think you are amazing. I think you are magical.

These feelings I indulge in now should have been extinct a decade ago. I don't recall feeling this way since college. And now these teenage feelings haunt me again, and they're more ferocious and intense than ever. Crushes are supposed to be for teens, not for middle-aged cardiologists. I'm 34 but I get these butterflies in my stomach whenever our eyes meet. My little heart leaps whenever you smile. There's a shiver in my spine when the back of your hand lightly touches my arm. My knees turn into jelly whenever you hold my hand. Haven't you noticed that whenever we're together, there's a silly smile plastered on my face? You make me sing - in the car, while walking, while drinking beer. Geeesh, you even made me dance once, and I never dance. Since i met you, this old woman is a little girl all over again, a silly, lovestruck, little girl crazy over her first crush. Thank you for that.

I'm not expecting anything. I don't expect that you'll like me back. Let's just stay how we are. Let's just talk and laugh, and sing and dance, and walk and travel. We need not talk about the serious stuff. We can just talk about the usual things - politics, the city, mountains, Nepal, and that neighbor you have. You need not be with me whenever I ask you for your company (which is practically all the time, at least in my head, I just don't tell you about it). Let's just take it slow, so slow, as slow as you would want it to be.

But I really like you. I really do. And if you get to read this, please, just give me a sign that you've read this and I'll finally tell you about it.






Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fern

Another old crush got married a few days ago. Well, it wasn't really a big deal. But when you're 34 and single, and your options are getting narrower and narrower, supposedly trivial events like this create a small dent on your otherwise flawless veneer of confidence. It's like a death of someone your age, when you are suddenly reminded of the brevity of your existence and you get to question your own life and your achievements and the purpose of your daily grind. Yeah, I'm diverging from a crush getting married to existentialist angst. That's how twisted I am right now. Twisted and crazy and confused and feeling like a fifteen year old. I think I'm having a brief reactive psychosis triggered by the marriage of an old crush. All because I've always thought he was fern. Fern? Fern has no stamen or pistil. Fern has spores. In layman's terms, fern is asexual. My asexual former crush is now married. And I'm shocked. I'm aghast. I'm crying. Boohoo. He wasn't a fern after all.

So my fern wasn't a fern. He just was a fern when he was with me. Well, he wasn't really with me, technically, which disqualifies me from being a total fern-magnet. But yeah, you know what I mean. He was a good fern, by the way.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Breakfast Club With Me, Myself, and I

My 34th birthday came and went. I expected to become wiser overnight, with my hair all turning gray, wrinkles on my face, with a halo around my head. I didn't. Instead, I'm just an almost-old middle aged woman trying hard to keep sane.

Today is my third day trying to get back to my lifestyle a year ago - that of a regularly-jogging fat lady who found it hard to finish a day without sweating it out. My busy work, the recent rains and cold early morning weather, and yes, I'll stop making excuses, my horrible and protracted attack of idleness have stopped me from making my daily rounds along the city park. The result: 4 kgs of fat gained. Eeeewww!

Since Friday, I've been joining this city's fitness-crazy old ladies in their sessions of Zumba in malls. My friend Ronan found that ridiculous. He hates watching fat people dance while panting like dogs and sweating buckets of what he felt like oil. But his mockery notwithstanding, I decided to join Zumba in the mall and be gawked at by those skinny people in the crowd. And today, I tried to resume jogging. Two miles and I was already getting angina. My knees hurt. And I'm still fat.

And so I'm back in my favorite breakfast place. Until a few months ago, this has been my Sunday morning routine. After a jog and a some minutes of Zumba, I usually hole up in this cozy little diner and have a treat of fried egg and whatever meat there is.  The past few months, however, I've enjoyed the most unexpected of surprises: company.

You see I'm not used to getting company. I've been so used to having my meals alone. And I've stopped feeling miserable about it. Being alone in a diner, reading a book, or just staring into space has always made me feel superior over the other Homo sapiens who cannot endure being alone. It's like my superpower, my mega asset, the ace in my cards. And so when company came, I realized how pathetic all my previous delusions about my superiority were. Quoting Murakami, "Nobody wants to be alone. I just hate to be disappointed." Yes, I just hated being disappointed. And oh boy, like all these other ordinary Homo sapiens, I don't want to be alone!!!

For many weekends, I had company I enjoyed. I started missing my morning jogs because I felt I hated being alone and I no longer felt that loneliness is equated with being superior and powerful. I wasn't having breakfast alone and I was happier!

But the trouble with company is that you can't keep them with you forever. People have lives to lead. I don't own anyone. And whether I like it or not, I'm the queen of solitary meals and tables-for-one.

So I'm back to square one. I'm the girl who reads, the girl who runs, the girl who travels, the girl who writes. The girl who does everything alone. And yes, whether you like it or not, that makes me a superior Homo sapien. Enough said.

(Written in Taps and Mix, GenSan City. In a fit of self-pity, hahaha. Solitude makes writers in fat middle-aged ladies, I therefore conclude.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Coffee-Shop Blues

Last weekend I was here, forcing myself to read a paperback novel about hell. Today, in an attempt to distract myself from my perennial lack of company, I decided to escape from the rest of the world by staying in a mall. Yes, it’s true that we can sometimes be alone in a crowded place and think more clearly where there is noise. The steady drone of people’s voices and their occasional ripples of laughter make an effective music for meditation, though meditation isn’t exactly what I’m doing now. I’m escaping. I’m running away. I’m hiding from the rest of the world, from all the noise and trivialities of daily existence. In a mall. Yes, this is such the perfect place to hide – in a place with bright lights and happy people while I’m sitting alone in a corner sipping coffee, pretending to be aloof and without care for company. Well, what else is new? This isn’t really much of a surprise, isn’t it?

Tonight I’m in this swanky coffee shop in downtown GenSan, wasting money on a tad too expensive vanilla latte, trying to squeeze my desiccated brain for words and ideas that have persistently eluded me for so long and assemble them into a fairly decent and reasonably interesting article for my blog.  It’s been months since I wrote one. And the last one I wrote was about loneliness and singlehood and getting old – boring and clich├ęd material. However, considering that my 34th birthday is just around the corner and whether I like it or not, loneliness is staring me right in the face and even giving me a dirty finger taunting me like a bully, it looks like I will be discussing the same nasty but boring topics yet again.

Well, maybe if I keep on staying here, every Saturday night and every Tuesday night, at right about the same time, in right about the same corner, maybe some nerdy solitude-seeking man will bother to sit with me and join me for a while.  Maybe. Who knows? Stuff from movies do happen in real life, albeit very rarely. Like that line from that coffee commercial. Let’s sit and talk awhile. All that crap. Maybe that could still happen if I stick around this place long enough.

I’ve stuck around long enough. Or maybe not yet. How long am I supposed to wait?  I’m not a very patient woman. Or maybe I’m a very patient woman, but I’ve been patient long enough.


Stop. There I go again. I'm again rambling about loneliness and singlehood and getting old. It's boring. I'm boring. I should stop and smell the coffee.